AT Monitoring Desk
KABUL: Saudi Arabia on Tuesday beheaded 37 Saudi citizens in a mass execution across the country over what it said was terrorism-related crimes, according to a media report on Wednesday
The executions were carried out in Riyadh, Makkah, Madinah, the Eastern Province, Qassim and Asir, the Saudi Press Agency (SPA) reported.
The 37 had created terror cells to “corrupt and disrupt security, spread chaos and provoke sectarian strife, as well as damage peace and social security,” the ministry said.
The ministry added that they had planned to bomb security headquarters and kill security personnel.
The mass killing marked the largest number of executions in a single day in Saudi Arabia since Jan. 2, 2016, when the kingdom executed 47 people over what it said were terrorism-related crimes. That was the largest mass execution Saudi Arabia had carried out since 1980.
Among those executed three years ago were four Shiites, including prominent Shiite cleric Nimr al-Nimr, whose death sparked protests from Pakistan to Iran and the ransacking of the Saudi Embassy in Tehran. Saudi-Iran ties have not recovered and the embassy remains shuttered.
The Interior Ministry’s statement said those executed had adopted extremist ideologies and formed terrorist cells with the aim of spreading chaos and provoking sectarian strife. It said the individuals had been found guilty according to the law and ordered executed by the Specialized Criminal Court in Riyadh, which specializes in terrorism trials, and the country’s high court.